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About – Nick Buckley

Nick Buckley Square-6Is this ‘About Me’ or about my business? Because my aim is to get a complete match between

life – family, leisure, learning
work – producing something of value, and collaborating with others
community – being part of where I live.

I’m not talking about “work life balance” between distinct things, but about being fortunate and persistent enough to blend all three together.

My goal, and my way of getting there, is to be as Authentic as I can manage. I’ve now learned that this means first being honest with myself and then with others, about who I am, what I believe in, what I do, what I’m good at, and what I’m like to live and work with.

It’s something you can only aim at. But the nearer you get to this, the bigger the store of energy, motivation and persuasive advocacy you can tap into.

One way or another, although I have to use more conventional words to describe my business and services, ‘Authenticity’ is what my work is about. Be that how we gain insights into our own thoughts and behaviour, or how we then translate that into communication with other people.

So, for those reasons, this blog is a place both for my personal reactions to anything that makes me want to write, and for showing what SoShall Consulting… and thence my work with Mindfulness at Work and the Potential Project… are about. My only concession is to try not to have clients, and future clients, climb over too much trivia.

Personal Philosophy

It’s becoming more and more of a commonplace that it’s a good thing for people consciously to fit what they believe into what they do, whenever they get the chance. The reach and independence offered by Social Media gives more people those chances. Because that’s “a good thing” I want it to happen for as many people as possible.

I also think that becoming a consistent person, and learning to be more open, is not so much about philosophising as about doing things. So I think that secular Mindfulness, for example, is a more effective activity than speculation and lecturing.

I think that personal consistency, openness and well-being can come from rediscovering how to do things well together.

The last piece of the jigsaw is that a good start for many of us will be to find new ways to do things well together-locally.

Politically and theologically, I’m largely agnostic. Too many ‘isms’ give people an excuse to stop thinking and trot out fixed ideas dictated by those ‘isms’. They also seem to bypass, too often, the obligation to make your own argument for how things should be, give first-hand evidence, and strengthen your case by setting an example in your own actions.

Going back to ‘Authenticity’, I think the world in general is now too used to accepting and discounting hype both from Brands and from individuals. This pollutes communication, discourages openness and collaboration, and generally dilutes our language. So I’m on a bit of a mission to see openness, honesty and shared purpose win out, commercially, wherever possible.

Professional Profile

To see me as a list of educational stages and jobs, you can look on LinkedIn here …

But the short version is that, having worked in a steelworks and then quit a Mechanical Engineering degree [frustrated at being treated like a schoolboy rather than a customer] I worked my way back to university and ended up delving into minds, brains, robots and [1980s] computers – to answer big philosophical questions.

Somehow that brought me to the Civil Service ‘Fast Stream’ and what is now the DWP. After that a succession of internet roles culminated in my arriving at the world of Market Research, experimenting with online focus groups and online communities for
research. In 2010 my freelance work in social media brought me into contact with mindfulness. I studied and practiced it for myself, which finally re-united my Philosophy of Mind PhD, my intermittent Zen practice since teenage years and my career experiences into something coherent. I found mindfulness practical, everyday and forgiving. It has had many effects on my life and outlook, and I went on to learn how to teach introductory courses to others – particularly in the workplace. There, the process of learning begins all over again, and again, and again.

The result is:

EITHER

I don’t have one big — clock 10,000 hours during 30 years — “ology”

OR

I have loads of them: policy analysis and formulation, project management, programme management, organisational change, international relations, large scale financial management, service design, product design, business strategy, web production,
social media development, social media monitoring, public sector business development, personal and professional coaching, interface design and usability, and blah,blah blah, rinse and repeat.

OR

All that variety, and close encounters with senior leaders and innovators in a wide range of sectors, has given me four things:

  • A tool, in mindfulness, which can be used to address a key question. Why is it that when people buy in so completely, on a conceptual level, to making a change… so few of those intended changes actually happen?
  • Understanding of what happens in the real world when organisations succeed, fail and learn.
  • A tendency to think new things and see how they play out across several different ‘ologies’, value chains, and perspectives… rather than from the from a single specialism.
  • The ability to motivate and guide multi-disciplinary teams confronted with something for which there is no handbook.

I like the third version. It’s what makes me want to work with both techniques and technologies that help people to collaborate more, with less hierarchy, fewer assumptions about how things are done, and putting more value on mutual support.

As Networks displace Hierarchies there will be more and more pressure on us to work together effectively – often whilst geographically scattered. Increasingly this will ask teams to run on shared values and aims, rather than be shackled together by contracts or transactions.

Logically then, I don’t plan to change the world single-handedly by ‘making’ lots of this happen. To walk my talk I have to be clear that I’m just another of those people who have a need to collaborate – who can help and learn, at the same time, by connecting with others whose goals I appreciate.

Let’s find out together!

Anything Else?

I’m still working on my exploration of ‘hyperlocal’ online communities, and offline neighbourhood networks, not least for my own street. There is a plan in place – many years in the making – but until recently just not the time and resources to execute it. It is now actually beginning to bear fruit in areas such as the arts – not least with Dartford Arts Network . But ultimately I want my involvement in what I think of as The Small Society, to be something that enriches my professional work.

I live in Dartford, Kent – a lively and oft-maligned community. Many good things are emerging here, but at the centre of that is a kind of ‘community spirit’ that isn’t an extinct cliche. I have been married for 33 years and we have two daughters who are currently at university. I still weigh a little too much – but it can give me a sort of false gravitas. When I’m not wrangling my family into some kind of order, bothering my local community or messing with the internet I like to occupy myself with, gardening, archery, mindfulness and philosophy…

and console and online games…

and mixing cocktails…

and playing snooker…

and a bit of juggling…

and long walks…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2011 12:11 pm

    Dear Nick, Louise at Witherdens Hall talked very eloquently about you, to me! Word of mouth is so powerful. I think she has filled you in on me. Leading writer, doing my very best to set the internet on fire with my writing, independently of big newspaper corps etc. I would love to talk to you.

    Send me an email and let’s chat.

    Warmest Regards,

    AJ

  2. TVisio Broadcast permalink
    November 17, 2011 7:04 pm

    Hey Nick,
    I don’t do much with my WP Blog. but I could change that with your feedback. Looks like your Empire Avenue shares are popping. Lemme know of any of your interests that I could support.
    I have recently gotten up to speed on Xeeme.com. I find it has more to offer than About.me for social media linkage and connection.
    http://www.xeeme.com/whetstonemedia
    Compare with http://www.about.me/whetstone

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